\begin{align}\min&\quad\sum_{i=1}^N\frac{A_i}{x_i}\\\text{s.t.}&\quad\sum x_i \le X\\&\quad x_i \ge 0\end{align}

wherein $A_i>0, (i\in\{1,\dots,N\})$ is constant, $x_i, (i\in\{1,\dots,N\})$ is a continuous optimization variable.


1 Answer 1


If some $A_i$ is negative the problem is unbounded: we can make the objective arbitrarily small by making $x_i$ arbitrarily close to 0.

Assuming $A_i \geq 0$, the optimality is obtained when all $\frac{A_i}{x_i^2}$ are equal (KKT optimality conditions), or equivalently all $\frac{x_i^2}{A_i}$ are equal, and $\sum x_i = X$ (otherwise you can increase some $x_i$ and reduce the objective).

Stating $x_i = \sqrt{A_i} y$, you can deduce $y = \frac{X}{\sum \sqrt{A_i}}$ from the equality.

Therefore $x_i = \frac{\sqrt{A_i}}{\sum \sqrt{A_j}}X$

  • $\begingroup$ This does not work if some $A_i=0$. $\endgroup$
    – RobPratt
    Jul 20, 2020 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. I was too lazy to spell it out, but you need an $A_i \gt 0$ for the equality to hold. Thanks $\endgroup$
    – Ggouvine
    Jul 20, 2020 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ (As far as I can tell you just need one, though. And if all are zero the problem is trivial) $\endgroup$
    – Ggouvine
    Jul 20, 2020 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ In this case all $x_i$ where $A_i=0$ must be 0, just like the general formula $\endgroup$
    – Ggouvine
    Jul 20, 2020 at 17:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No, I mean if even one $A_i=0$ your argument that all $A_i/x_i^2$ are equal fails. Furthermore, you cannot have $x_i=0$ ever because it appears in the denominator of a summand in the objective. $\endgroup$
    – RobPratt
    Jul 20, 2020 at 17:53

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